Arundhati Roy Under Attack, Canadian Activists Fight Back

Vancouver and Surrey social-justice activists protest contempt charge against Arundhati Roy

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Arundhati Roy has received a contempt citation for criticizing the arrest of a high-profile Indian human-rights activist. Vikramjit Kakati

The judicial persecution of a prominent Indian author and essayist has riled activists around Vancouver.

Many of them gathered in Surrey to protest a charge of contempt of court filed against Booker Prize-winning Delhi writer Arundhati Roy.

The demonstration included Chinmoy Banerjee, Parminder Swaich, Hardev Singh, Harbhajan Cheema, Harinder Mahil, Jai Birdi, and Avtar Gill, all of whom belong to different progressive groups in the Lower Mainland. Continue reading

The Wars At Home: What State Surveillance of an Indigenous Rights Campaigner Tells Us About Real Risk in Canada

DESMOGBLOG, NOVEMBER 2, 2014, a guest post by Shiri Pasternak.

 

Recent revelations that the RCMP spied on Indigenous environmental rights activist Clayton Thomas-Muller should not be dismissed as routine monitoring. They reveal a long-term, national energy strategy that is coming increasingly into conflict with Indigenous rights and assertions of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources.

A “Critical Infrastructure Suspicious Incident” report was triggered by Thomas-Muller’s trip in 2010 to the Unist’ot’en camp of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, where a protest camp was being built on the coordinates of a proposed Pacific Trails pipeline.mikmaq

The Unist’ot’en clan continues to hold their ground along these GPS coordinates today. Not coincidentally, they are members of a nation that took its assertions of jurisdiction to the Supreme Court of Canada in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia in 1997, establishing in Canadian case law the underlying proprietary interest of Indigenous peoples to their unceded lands.

Continue reading

South Asian Diaspora in Canada Condemns the Political Persecution of Dr. GN Saibaba

SANSAD — South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy

Release political prisoner GN Saibaba

SANSAD News-release June 16, 2014

South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) condemns the illegal arrest of Professor GN Saibaba, who teaches English in Ram Lal Anand College of Delhi University by Maharashtra Police on May 9. We further condemn his cruel detention in solitary confinement without regard to his disabilities, his suspension from Delhi University by the university administration following his arrest, and the denial of his bail plea by the Gadchirol sessions court in Maharashtra on June 13. We strongly protest these violations of human rights and civil liberties. We demand the immediate release of Professor Saibaba and his reinstatement in his teaching position in Delhi.

Professor Saibaba is an outspoken civil liberty activist, who as the deputy secretary of Revolutionary Democratic Front has been campaigning against the Indian government’s counter-insurgency measures known as “Operation Green Hunt.” His home in Delhi had been raided four times since September 2013 by the police before his arrest and transportation to Maharashtra on May 9 without warning and without access to a lawyer. Dr. Saibaba is a paraplegic who lost the use of his legs to polio as a child. He has 90% disability and has been bound to a wheel chair since he could afford one after his arrival in Delhi. Continue reading

Canada: The Settler Colonial-Security State’s Eyes on the First Nations

[The colonial suppression of indigenous peoples is at the foundation of settler-colonial states from Azania, Polynesia, Palestine, and on and on from South Asia to and through the Western Hemisphere.  At the foundation, and continuing, without respite.  Here, a report on the surveillance and efforts to suppress the risings anew of the First Nations in the land the settlers call Canada. — Frontlines ed.]

CSIS, Aboriginal Affairs kept close watch on First Nations protest movement

 Idle No More protesters march in Ottawa Jan. 11, 2013. Idle No More protesters march in Ottawa Jan. 11, 2013. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Stephen Spencer Davis, Canada.com

Published: August 11, 2013

A federal department and the country’s spy agency closely monitored the activities of the aboriginal “Idle No More” movement in late 2012 and early 2013, with the intelligence agency claiming it was doing so not over fear of protests getting out of hand, but to protect the activists from potential violence by others.

A series of “weekly situational awareness reports” from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada reveals a rigorous cataloguing of Idle No More’s activities.

Each report begins: “This is a weekly report that provides current information and the status of activities that threaten public safety in relation to issues affecting Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.” Continue reading

Canada: Media Watchdogs denounce phony “pro-life” promotion and faux “objectivity”

Nothing but contempt: Putting the lie to media coverage of Dr. Henry Morgentaler

Nothing but contempt: Putting the lie to media coverage of Dr. Henry Morgentaler

“I have nothing but contempt for people who wish to deny women one of the fundamental rights to control their reproduction.” Dr. Henry Morgentaler, 2010.

In the media avalanche following Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s death on May 29, two radically different views of the man quickly emerged. It was a rare article or newscast that didn’t use words like “polarizing” or “controversial” or “divisive” to describe him. The Globe and Mail was first out of the gate with the phrase “revered and hated” dominating their headline, while CBC gave us a choice between “hero or murderer.” Other media competed with catchy alliterations like “lauded and loathed,” “hero or hellion,” and “revered and reviled.”

Although nearly all mainstream media sources quoted pro-choice views, most also interviewed at least one anti-choice spokesperson (22 out of 35 news articles or broadcasts that I reviewed). Apparently, the media thinks that view has some kind of legitimacy and must be presented against the pro-choice view in the name of “balance.” Well, NO. The anti-choice position — that women must be compelled to carry every pregnancy to term under threat of criminal law regardless of circumstances — is an extremist view held by only 5 per cent of Canadians. It is also profoundly mistaken, cruel and undemocratic. As such, it does not deserve equal time or respect in Canada.

That tiny 5 per cent minority has great representation though — most, if not all, anti-choice organizations in Canada adhere to that same extremist belief. They don’t advocate it openly anymore because they know the public finds it abhorrent. But don’t be fooled — their dream is to ban abortion completely with no exceptions, the same goal as other anti-choice groups around the world. Recent cases in Ireland and El Salvador have shown conclusively that the anti-choice movement considers women to be merely vessels for babies, and that their lives should be sacrificed even for a doomed fetus with no chance of survival. Savita Halappanavar died tragically because of that doctrine — after suffering three days of “pro-life” induced pain and agony — and Beatriz in El Salvador came close to death’s door because of the same malevolent belief. Continue reading

Canada: Against Rape and Violence Against Women, The Global Struggle Continues to Grow

Halifax, Nova Scotia protest of the rape and murder of Rehtaeh Parsons

Halifax, Nova Scotia protest of the rape of Rehtaeh Parsons

End violence against women, justice for Rehtaeh Parsons!
National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC) — National statement
For immediate release — April 12, 2013

Toronto, ON–Members of the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC) are deeply saddened and mourn the loss of Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17 year old high school student from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Rehtaeh’s young life was taken away by the grief of a crime committed against her dignity and humanity as a woman. As the news of her rape and the cyberbullying inflicted on her fill the mainstream media, we are reminded of the ongoing brutality of crimes perpetuated against women. We are also reminded that our escalating victimization and violation continue to be bolstered by the institution of patriarchy and male domination in its effort to further subordinate and subjugate women in this society.

Moreover, we are angered and appalled by the obvious neglect of the RCMP to treat Rehtaeh’s tortuous ordeal as a case of violence. By turning a blind eye on the seriousness and the gravity of the assault, the RCMP shows their complicity in condoning the actions of the perpetrators. Thus, their outright denial to do an investigation, when the case was brought to their attention, was and continues to be an outright denial of her worth and value as a woman.

Rehtaeh’s tragic death, along with the countless experiences of women who have been raped, sexually assaulted, physically beaten, and violated on the streets, in schools, and workplaces, is a testament of the increasing and continuing attacks against women’s bodies and women’s lives. We refuse to let these be neglected; last December 16, 2012, Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23 year old university student from New Delhi, India, was gang-raped and later died from her injuries; the suicide of Amanda Todd from Surrey, British Columbia who committed suicide after pictures of her body was circulated through every school she moved to; the sexual assault and killings of Jessica Lloyd, and Corporal Marie-France Comeau by former Canadian Forces Colonel, Russel Williams; and Rheena Virk from Saanich, British Columbia in 1997, who was beaten to death by so-called close peers. These are all evidence of the increasing exploitation and the rampant assault faced by all women. Indeed, time and time again, we are faced with the bitter reality that the struggle to end violence against women is far from over.

As such, we at the NAPWC vow to continue our fight to stop violence against women, and to end patriarchy at all costs. We support the demands of Rehtaeh’s family for a full investigation on the case. We will also continue in our educating, organizing, and mobilizing to uphold and advance the women’s struggle for genuine liberation in our society.

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For more information, contact:
www.magkaisacentre.org
Twitter: PWC_Ontario
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MAGKAISA CENTRE

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Philippine Women Centre
Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada / Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance
SIKLAB Ontario
————————————EMAIL:
pwc-on@magkaisacentre.org
ukpc-on@magkaisacentre.org
siklab-on@magkaisacentre.org
————————————WEBSITE:
www.magkaisacentre.org
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DARE TO STRUGGLE! DARE TO WIN!

Over 200 arrested in annual Montreal police brutality clash

Nelson Wyatt, Canadian Press | March 15, 2013

[THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorzmontreal-BFbdJHvCMAAqjTtAt an anti-police brutality demonstration in Montreal on Friday March 15, 2013. Police used horses, pepper-spray and kettling tactics to clamp down Friday on an annual protest that has a history of “getting rowdy.”]

MONTREAL — Police wasted little time Friday cracking down on an annual protest that has a history of getting rowdy, deploying charging squads of helmeted officers, cops on horseback and pepper spray to corral demonstrators.

Montreal police, who have been dealing with regular protests since student unrest last year, usually let peaceful marches proceed even if they have been declared illegal under municipal bylaws.

On Friday, police massed platoons of officers around their downtown headquarters — which was the target of the annual rally against police brutality — and had made their first arrest before the march even began.

“We sent up a message right at the beginning,” said Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere of the Montreal police at a late evening news conference after the march. “They haven’t shared a route, they haven’t shared their itinerary, they refuse to give us a location where they were heading. That’s the reason we made a stop to that.” Continue reading